176 Chapter 173 Meeting Part 1
"Joseph," said his father, as his mother sat at the table, looking over the selection he had made for her. Stella was busy telling her what each thing was.
"Yes, father?" Joseph said, stepping over to his side.
William was holding a stack of papers, where his careful handwriting could be seen in tiny neat rows.
"Son, you don't need to worry so much about your mother. I know that the system can't do anything about her magic null, but that doesn't mean you need to stop everything to try and change her. She's a human, so what? We were all humans only a few months ago. If it's a year before you get the time to figure it out, she's not going to age that much."
"I know that I have a lot on my plate right now," Joseph conceded, looking back at his mom as she was happily digging into a chocolate cake, while Stella was telling her about all the people they had saved.
"She's surrounded by a nation of mages that would die to keep her safe. We have a lot of things that need your attention as the king of a nation. We need a home. And you have a lot of people that need guidance."
"I know." Joseph sighed and closed his eyes. Nikmesh was dead but his mind was still stained with rage. Things made him so angry, so easily now, and he didn't know how to fix it.
"Joseph, are you going to join me?" asked his mom, looking up from the fudge she was devouring.
"Mom," he said with a laugh. "You should try to eat real food instead of just sweets!"
"Why? These things taste delicious!"
"But if you only eat sweets, they will cause your body harm. Your teeth will go bad and you will develop health problems."
"Oh, Joseph, don't be silly! These taste really good! Are you going to join me, or not?"
"Sorry, mom, but I probably need to deal with some important things," he said, glancing at his dad.
"Oh, yea, you were going to have some big kingly meeting. Well, go ahead. I'm going to enjoy this stuff and probably go to bed."
Joseph gathered Stella and his dad, then teleported them to the meeting location. They arrived a full twenty minutes early, but already a third of them were there.
"Your majesty, we are having a lot of problems with the laws you have dictated," said his father, sitting at the table.
"I figured there would be some problems I didn't foresee, but we shall wait until everyone arrives to discuss them. I don't like to repeat myself."
His father nodded and went back to going through the papers he had brought with him.
As each person arrived for the meeting, Joseph was amused by the variety of names they used to refer to him. Stella seemed annoyed by it, and kept glancing at him, as if trying to make a point about him needing to choose only one honorific title.
When it was time for the meeting to begin, he stood, signaling the quiet talk to cease.
"First of all, I am going to be out of contact for a while after this meeting. I have been invited to visit with the Mother of Dragons, and feel a need to accept the invitation. I honestly have no idea how long I will be gone, but I assure you, I will attempt my best to see to each of your reports before I leave. I am sure that I will need some time to think before responding to some of them, but I will try my best."
He watched as they all seemed to accept that, with the understanding that he didn't have a choice about visiting the Mother of Dragons. None of them really knew who she was, but the title was impressive enough, that they understood his dilemma.
Holding up a thin book, Joseph handed it to Stephan. "I have several new spells that will be good for all incoming students to learn. Please make sure they make it to the required schools."
"Yes, my king," said Stephan, taking the book and setting it beside his reports.
Turning to the council in general, Joseph said, "I understand that the initial laws I made will need to be adapted to issues that have undoubtably popped up. Would someone please give me a report on that?"
A fox-kin stood up and picked up his report nervously. "Your majesty, the restriction on physical harm is a little vague. There was an issue where someone refused to pay rent, but no one was sure if evicting them would constitute physical harm by denying them shelter."
"No," said Joseph, rubbing his head. This was going to be a long meeting. "Evicting them for lack of paying rent is not physical harm."
"Physical harm seems to be a very broad term, your majesty," said the fox-kin, anxiously. His nose wouldn't stop twitching and his report was getting crumpled as he waited for Joseph to answer.
"Malicious intent is typically present when physical harm occurs. The law was intended to cover most situations."
The eagle-kin, from the previous beast-kin council, stood and the fox quickly sat down.
"Your majesty, a lot of progress has been made in establishing the courts. You are obviously the highest authority in the land, but lesser cases are able to be settled without your intervention based on the guidelines you have established, however, there is a special case I need to bring up."
"Go on," said Joseph.
"There was a bunny-kin who attempted to turn down the amorous advances of a dragon-kin, but her intentions failed to bring about the intended results, and she feels she was assaulted."
"What do you mean? How can a no be misinterpreted?" asked Joseph.
"Well, the culture of bunny-kin is vastly different from that of dragon-kin. The refusal for a bunny-kin, is exactly the same as an acceptance for the dragon-kin. He believes he is not at fault for any assault charges."
"Shavist, I never took into consideration different cultures," groaned Joseph, rubbing his face before turning back to the eagle-kin. "What happened? I am to assume it has already been settled?"
"They are happily married," said the eagle-kin, consulting his notes.
"Well, apparently, a bunny-kin's first sexual experience causes a bond with their sexual partner, that cannot be removed."
"I find that difficult to believe."
"We had to investigate this ourselves, and the bunny-kin population confirmed it. Apparently, the deed is synonymous with marriage itself, for them. That seems to be why they are so picky choosing their mates."
Joseph sat there stunned, rolling the information around in his head.
"What of the dragon-kin?"
"He was horrified when he was informed, but he seems to be a very attentive husband."
"We need to investigate to see what other cultural characteristics there are. We have too many different species to leave this one alone!"
"We have started a cultural awareness group; whose sole purpose is to catalog such particulars for our awareness."
Joseph nodded, still having a hard time understanding how this one could have gone unknown among the beast kin. Then a thought occurred to him.
"Wait, weren't the bunny-kin a popular among the human whore houses in your realm?"